Our Mother’s Home (OMH), an organization that helps teen mothers and their children transition from foster care to stable, productive lives, has recently appointed four new board members. The addition of new members comes at a pivotal time for OMH, as the organization begins rebranding and executing the vision of a new facility and transition home.
“It is an honor to welcome these strong and inspiring women onto our team,” Executive Director Alicia Miller said. “Our mission is to empower young women by breaking the cycle of generational poverty and with this incredible group of leaders, it is well within our reach. Every action we take is towards creating a world of independent women who believe in themselves to accomplish their dreams.”
The new board members joining OMH are Claribel Bocanegra, Kelly Thawley, Malaina Mote and Melissa Vogt. Each will work closely with Miller and existing board members, Beth Juliano, Mary Lynn Podolak, and Marin Asher to execute the organization’s goals, including a new facility and transition home that will house teen mothers who have aged out of the foster care system.
Bocanegra is the owner and Practice Administrator at Porto Fino Dental. In addition, she founded Gemstones in the Making, an organization that creates safe spaces where young women can discuss vulnerable topics. She has always had a passion for empowering people from all walks of life and bringing them together, which is what inspired her to start LEAD like a Girl!, a mentoring program for young women and girls. Bocanegra and her husband established a fund at FGCU’s Community Counseling Clinic for the participants of Gemstones in the Making and LEAD to receive free counseling and mental health services. Bocanegra’s personal mission is to inspire the next generation and to create a network of women who will fight inequality and ensure everyone can lead their lives proudly.
Thawley joins the board with extensive experience working with children and teens as the Career Specialist for The School District of Lee County. She is responsible for overseeing work-based learning, career exploration, and business partnerships, for kindergarten through 12th-grade students. In addition, Thawley is passionate about helping women reach their full potential. She is an active member of the Planning Committee for LEAD Like a Girl and the Chair of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Committee.
Malaina Mote leads the Collaboratory’s scholarship program where she manages $24 million of scholarship funds and the entire application process. She visits high schools, throughout the SWFL region, where she discusses the importance of being financially secure during the journey of post-secondary education. She is a part of Impact SWFL, FGCU’s Alumni Leadership programs and A New Way of Working. Mote has also recently won two prestigious awards, Florida Gulf Coast University’s Soaring Eagle Award ’21 and Gulfshore Business’s 40 under 40 in 2021.
As the General Manager and Marketing Director at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Vogt is responsible for developing and implementing the theatre’s marketing and public relations, events, and more. She received TRAVELHOST Magazine’s Hospitality Award, is a graduate of The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class, was recognized in Gulfshore Business Magazine’s 40-Under-40 in 2017 and was a finalist for The News-Press 2017 People of the Year. In addition, she is actively involved on several committees, serves on the board of directors for the Florida Attractions Association, The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, and she volunteers her time at local non-profits.
To learn more about Our Mother’s Home or schedule a meeting with Alicia Miller, call 239-267-4663 or visit ourmothershome.org.